Nootropics - Unlock Your "A" Game
We are not limitless beings. Yet we all strive to our own goals as best we can (in varying levels of success, so don’t panic). As much as we exercise our bodies and try to either maintain fitness or achieve a specific look or outcome, we need to remember that our brains need exercise, and sometimes a boost too.
In this article we take a look at how Nootropics can help boost and enhance cognitive function and the role they can play in improving your fitness.
What Are Nootropics & How They Can Help Athletes?
Much can be said for brain exercises, from puzzles to mindfulness, but what can we do aside from cracking through a sudoku over our morning oats?
That’s where Nootropics come in. As much as Hollywood wants us to believe there is a magic pill that will turn you into some kind of mind wizard, there are supplements & foods available that can definitely give us an edge mentally. These are broadly termed “nootropics”.
Nootropics are substances that are believed to enhance cognitive or brain function and improve mental performance. They are sometimes referred to as "smart drugs" and can come in a variety of types. Nootropics could be natural compounds, synthetic chemicals, and even certain foods and herbs.
Types of Nootropics
- Racetams: these are a class of synthetic compounds that are known for their cognitive-enhancing effects. They are believed to improve memory, learning, and focus by modulating neurotransmitters and receptors in the brain.
- Nutritional Nootropics: nutrients like vitamins B6, B12, C, and E, as well as minerals like magnesium and zinc, play crucial roles in brain health and function. Supplementing these nutrients can support optimal brain performance.
- Neuroprotective Nootropics: These substances, including antioxidants like resveratrol, CoQ10, and alpha-lipoic acid, protect the brain from oxidative stress and inflammation. By preserving brain cells and reducing damage, they help maintain nerve function within the brain.
Some foods that are known ‘brain boosters’ are things like:
- Salmon - rich in omega-3 fatty acids, & docosahexaenoic acid which is essential for brain health.
- Broccoli - a good source of antioxidants and compounds called glucosinolates, which provide aid with stress response. They’re also found to give protection against cancer too!
- Dark Chocolate - containing flavonoids and antioxidants that improve blood flow to the brain, enhance cognitive function, and provide a mood boost.
- Green Tea - contains small amounts of caffeine and L-theanine, which can promote focus and attention.
- Pumpkin Seeds - These seeds are rich in antioxidants, magnesium, iron, zinc, and fatty acids. They help improve memory and boost our moods.
Bean Me Up
One source of jump starting our minds and bodies is caffeine. Many bodybuilders use caffeine in the way of pre-workout stimulant drinks, but often times these can cause a caffeine crash.
Just a single cup of black coffee is plenty to get your brain and body ready for a hard session in the weights section, or anywhere in the gym. Caffeine increases alertness, wakefulness, and focus. They work by boosting the activity of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine.
Neurotransmitters are the molecules that flow between nerve cells.
Working with the chemistry in your brain, synthetic nootropics stimulate the neurotransmitters in your brain. They can boost levels of dopamine, the feel-good hormone, to uplift your mood and motivation.
One type is acetylcholine, a memory enhancer, to give your recollection skills a serious upgrade. Racetams are another type and are believed to work by modulating these hormones and receptors in the brain, particularly those involved in learning, memory, and cognitive function.
They may enhance nerve communication, improve blood flow to the brain, and protect brain cells from oxidative stress.
Synthetic nootropics are however still a bit of a grey area in terms of scientific research. While some early studies suggest their potential benefits, we're still uncovering the full extent of their powers. So, tread with caution and consult your physician before trying any.
We need to get our mind reps in, make our brains sweat. But even our brains need some help sometimes. Remember that combining nootropics with a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, quality sleep, and stress management is crucial for maximizing cognitive performance. Any nootropic, be it natural or synthetic, takes time to take effect. There is no such thing as a quick fix, you have to do the work, and keep mindful of your own health, mental and physical.
Body20 is an all-encompassing, holistic approach to physical, and mental well-being. The mind & body are an ecosystem, and we understand the value of taking care of it all. Body20 members get access to Nutrition Doctors and Wellness Coaches to assist in improving the quality of their lives. To find out more, book your free demo at your nearest Body20 Studio.